The Auld Rattlesnake Apple Blues
Expanded from the 12-4-2005 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.
– Voltaire (1694-1778)


It's hardwired into both our genes and our jeans. We all seem to lust for power over somebody or something. That's why some people go home and kick their dogs at the end of a frustrating day.

Live and let live just isn't any fun. Gossip leads to buzz, then proceeds to propaganda which either evolves toward enlightenment or devolves to dictatorship. At each step, the purveyors of prattle perceive that they exercise power over others through besmirching the maligned, commanding the listener's attention, or both.

Take the biblical permission from God giving man dominion over the earth. God may have given it to both men and women, but somebody apparently could read God's mind that he really meant men only. (After all, Eve gave Adam that damned apple.)

The sci-fi writers who composed the Book of Genesis did untold harm in just one sentence. "Be fertile (make love) and multiply (but don't use birth control); fill the earth (with SUV's?) and subdue it (make love AND war). Have dominion over the fish of the sea (season with mercury to taste), the birds of the air (currently taking their bird flu revenge), and all the living things that move on the earth." (The mining industry will lead the pillage of all non-living things.)

A lot of evil proceeded from the twisting and interpretation of that one line. Nobody actually knows what was originally written. No original texts exist after more than 4,000 years of re-translations and aggressive marketing by self-perpetuating holy men.

The justification for so many depredations arguably starts from there: dominion over women, animals, the weather. It's no wonder that we require our gods and holy men to possess power over nature. Maybe they'll use it on our behalf if we bow, scrape and sacrifice enough at the flaming altar in the Emerald City.

People without power can become the most dangerous of all. Listen to the lonely cry of the Tacoma shopping mall shooter. "The world will know my anger," cried the troubled young man who wanted to be "heard."

Bet he felt power over nothing.

Have we come very far from writing on cave walls to battling over development at the foot of Rattlesnake Mountain?

I don't think so.

You will know that the moral obtuseness of the gods of greed has finally triumphed when somebody decides to rename Rattlesnake Mountain as something more marketable like Desert Ditch Shadows or perhaps Fang Shui. Maybe they'll go slyly biblical by calling it Apple Eden Hill.

Apparently, we don't look up from our valleys anymore. Just a gaze into a starry sky shows you how big you really are. Small minds fail to recognize that each of us is blessed. You have your own small personal piece of the universal action ending at the tip of your nose (which portends a booming market in the emerging medical discipline of facial transplant).

That we are still so primitive may easily be demonstrated by viewing human activity in terms of tribalism. You don't need to visit Iraq or Israel for proof, just walk down the street to the nearest school. How do we recover from the hangover of eons of breeding and socializing people to step on others? Start a new church? Political party? How about a TV network like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez?

Jeopardy is an interesting TV show because it illustrates the fleeting nature of fame. Famous names on everyone's lips just days ago often get blank stares from serious and intelligent contestants trying to win big bucks.

You can amass wealth and power beyond the wildest dreams of avarice and pride. But it will all be taken from you in the cosmic time equivalent of the eyeblink of a bantamweight flea.

The joke is on us.

SAM THE SHAD AND THE PHAROAHS. TV personality Sam Shad has been on a roll of late. Politicians somehow step into a studio with him and magically begin to say sensationally stupid things. With a straight if not necessarily sober face, madcap Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman advocated cutting off the thumbs of graffiti artists. U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., asserted "seriously" that Osama bin Laden had probably been killed in a recent earthquake. Can't blame the senator. If Dubya expects us to take everything he says on faith, I'll give Sen. Reid my faith-based trust.

I don't expect any such world class oopsing this Wednesday, but hope springs eternal. On Pearl Harbor Day, Shad's main guest will be Air America "progressive" talk radio host Stephanie Miller. She's the daughter of 1964 GOP vice-presidential nominee Bill Miller, plucked from an obscure upstate New York congressional district by Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz.

In publicizing his lineups, Shad always describes people as they ask. "Progressive" is the replacement euphemism for "liberal," now demonized by right-wing moonhowlers into a direct descendant equivalent of McCarthy-era slurs of pinko-commie-traitor. Swiftboating was not invented by Karl Rove.

The left is so limp it can't even come up with a new label to counter the military-industrial noise machine, proof positive that it is still incapable of attaining power on the national level.

Political leaders speak in seven-second sound bites, so how hard of a copywriting job can it be?

I'll follow Ms. Miller on Shad's pundit panel with Alfredo Alonso, a political operative with Harvey Whittemore's law firm, and Robert Uithoven, campaign manager for (speaking of right-wing moonhowlers) GOP congressman Jim Gibbons' campaign for governor. The show airs at 12:30 p.m. on KRNV TV-4 and reruns thereafter statewide, starting at 9:30 p.m. on Washoe-Carson-Douglas Charter cable 12, speaking of which…

THANKS TO EVERYONE who rattled Reno City Hall last week. The city council accepted a damning report regarding Charter's non-compliance with its fat new 15-year cable franchise. The council also resisted an attempt by Councilman Dave Aiazzi to exterminate the committee (including me) which prepared the document.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

PLAYING SURVIVOR AT CITY HALL: Reno Cable Committee survives second extermination attempt of the year
     Reno Gazette-Journal 12-2-2005

Fire at will and whack the messenger: The twisted cables of political intrigue in the black tower of Reno City Hall, Barbwire 11-27-2005

GUEST EDITORIAL: Citizens still need cable TV committee
by Reno committee member Joe Dowden
     Reno Gazette-Journal 11-30-2005

OUTRAGE UPDATE: The Reno City Council, for the second time this year, schedules the execution of its Citizens Cable Compliance Committee. Time to raise hell at city hall on Dec. 1.

Sparks citizens committee holds cable franchise hearing
     Daily Sparks Tribune 11-22-2005

Andrew Barbano's testimony before the Sparks Citizens Advisory Committee, 11-19-2005

Cable Consumers Cringe, BARBWIRE 11-13-2005

We're having a hearing, but watch what you say
     BARBWIRE 11-6-2005

Granting of Cable Franchise Irks Cox; Las Vegas Sun, 11-12-2005

Henderson cable skirmish delayed; Cox given more time to review proposal; Las Vegas Sun, 11-17-2005

...and more ammo

The Unofficial Website of the Perennially Endangered but Everlastingly Interesting City of Reno Citizens Cable Compliance Committee

The 2003 legislative fight for cable consumers

The history of government access TV in Las Vegas
Former Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Miller
on the Greenspun cable empire

Las Vegas Tribune, March 28, 2000

Be well. Raise hell. | U-News
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
War Rooms: Cabbies, Cable TV, Cancer Kids, Energy, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
Search this site



Copyright © 2005 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 37-year Nevadan and editor of He served on SNCAT's founding board. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.


Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors
Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins